The Transformation of Public Markets

Matthew Le Merle
5 min readDec 13, 2020

It’s all about disruptive technology companies now.

In 2010 we noticed that Apple had joined Microsoft as one of two west coast based technology companies on the list of the world’s most valuable companies — a significant change since for the prior few years only Microsoft had been able to hold its place as once high flyers like Cisco and Intel dropped off. The rankings still showed the legacy of the ‘Industrial Era’ all too clearly, but technology-based companies were starting to climb up the rankings again.

2010 World’s Largest Companies by Market Cap

  1. PetroChina ($329 bn)
  2. Exxon ($316 bn)
  3. Microsoft ($256 bn)
  4. ICBC ($246 bn)
  5. Apple ($213 bn)
  6. BHP Billiton ($209 bn)
  7. Wal-Mart ($209 bn)
  8. Berkshire Hathaway ($200 bn)
  9. General Electric ($194 bn)
  10. China Mobile ($193 bn)

We had both spent decades as partners at top management consulting firms serving established large companies in legacy financial services, technology, consumer products, and other industries. After we moved to the Bay Area in the mid 1990s, we increasingly served new technology clients like Amazon, Cisco, eBay, Google, HP…



Matthew Le Merle

Matthew Le Merle is co-founder and Managing Partner of Fifth Era which manages Blockchain Coinvestors, and of Keiretsu Capital